Can I get an Injunction for Domestic Abuse?
You can get the protection of an injunction order if you or your children are experiencing domestic abuse within a family relationship.
Many people are worried about calling a family law solicitor for help but at OTS Solicitors we are here to help you get an injunction order for domestic abuse.
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Getting an injunction order for domestic abuse
Understanding what domestic violence is can be the first step to getting an injunction order for domestic abuse. That’s because so many people don’t think that what they or their family have been experiencing is really domestic abuse.
There are still some in the UK that think domestic abuse in a relationship isn’t something that you can or should complain about but in 2022 it is. Others think that the domestic abuse behaviour is temporary or down to COVID-19 or worries about the UK cost of living crisis. Whatever the reason behind the domestic abuse it is best to get help and to understand your legal rights and options.
Domestic abuse isn’t purely about physical violence in a relationship. There are many different types of domestic abuse. The government has defined domestic abuse as widely as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged sixteen or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality’’.
Whilst many perceive domestic abuse as physical violence the government definition includes psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.
If you aren’t sure if what you are experiencing is domestic abuse then give our family law solicitors a call on 0203 959 9123 so we can discuss your best options.
Applying for a domestic violence injunction order
A domestic violence injunction order is made by a family court judge. In addition, or as an alternative, you can contact the police for help. If you or a member of your family is in immediate danger you should always call the police.
Many people don’t think they can apply for an injunction order because they did not report a recent or a historical incident of domestic abuse to the police or other type of authority figure, such as a doctor. It doesn’t matter – you can still potentially apply for an injunction order.
You should also not be put off from applying for an injunction order because you don’t think a court will believe you because you are being abused by your female partner. Domestic abuse law and injunctions are available to protect anyone who needs them, including:
- Those who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting in an unmarried relationship
- Those in an intimate relationship but who don’t actually live together on a full time basis
- Same sex couples and LBGTQ families
- Those in the UK on a visa and subject to UK immigration control. For example, if you are in the UK on a dependant visa or a family visa or spouse visa
- Older couples as domestic abuse in relationships isn’t confined to people of a certain age – domestic violence can occur at any stage and you should not suffer alone
Family law injunction orders
As well as many types of domestic violence amounting to a criminal offence ( such as assault or harassment) the family court also has the ability to make two types of family injunction order, regardless of whether you make a complaint to the police and regardless of whether or not the police secure a conviction. The two types of injunction order are:
- Non-molestation order – an order to stop harassment or domestic violence
- Occupation order – this type of order can also be referred to as an ouster order. The injunction allows a person to return to the family home when they are prevented from doing so and can exclude a partner from the family home
Injunction orders don’t last for ever and they don’t change property law rights. Therefore, if your family home is jointly owned with your husband or wife, you will also need to either agree a divorce financial settlement or you need to ask the court to make a financial court order.
In divorce financial settlement proceedings, the family court can order the sale or transfer of the family home. The property doesn’t have to be owned by you for the family court to make these types of financial settlement orders.
If you are in a cohabiting relationship you can apply to court for an occupation order and if you can't reach an agreement over the long term arrangements for your family home you can ask the court to determine the extent of your interest in the property. Even if the property is in the legal ownership of your partner, you may still have a beneficial interest in the family home or you may be able to make a schedule one Children Act claim for housing for your dependent children.
Worried about children and domestic abuse
If you are worried about your children being subject to domestic abuse or witnessing abusive behaviour then an injunction order can protect your children as well as yourself.
In addition, you may be concerned about your husband or wife or ex-partner trying to take the children away from you or about how your ex-partner will behave during contact visits or at contact handovers. Family law solicitors can talk to you about the range of children law orders available to help you, including child arrangement orders and prohibited steps orders. A children law order can be applied for at the same time as an injunction or separately. In urgent situations a family judge has the power to make emergency children law orders.
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